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Strengthening Innovation in the Netherlands: Making Better Use of Knowledge Creation in Innovation Activities

  • David Carey
  • Ekkehard Ernst
  • Rebecca Oyomopito
  • Jelte Theisens

Strengthening the innovation system in the Netherlands is a priority for raising productivity growth, which has been relatively weak in recent years. Knowledge creation in the Netherlands is strong -- scientific publications per capita are the sixth highest in the OECD -- but innovation activity is only around the average for OECD countries according to the EIS Summary Innovation Index. The main weaknesses are in business R&D intensity, the share of the population with tertiary education, and in commercially applying new knowledge. This paper discusses reforms being implemented to overcome these weaknesses and suggests directions for building on such reforms. Co-operation between public research organisations and innovating firms is being strengthened, support for innovation is being rationalised and measures are being taken to increase both the current and prospective supply of scientists and engineers with a view to making the Netherlands a more attractive location for R&D investments. To increase the tertiary attainment rate, the authorities are considering introducing shorter tertiary courses and are experimenting with greater competition among tertiary education suppliers for public funds. To strengthen performance in commercial application of new knowledge, barriers to entrepreneurship are being reduced but more should be done to strengthen incentives for entrepreneurship. This Working Paper relates to the 2005 OECD Economic Survey of the Netherlands ( Renforcer l'innovation aux Pays-Bas : Mieux utiliser la création de connaissances dans les activités d'innovation Il est essentiel de renforcer le système d’innovation aux Pays-Bas pour y relancer la croissance de la productivité, qui est relativement faible depuis quelques années. La création de connaissances est dynamique aux Pays-Bas -- qui se classe au sixième rang des pays de l’OCDE en termes de publications scientifiques par habitant -- mais les activités d’innovation se situent simplement aux alentours de la moyenne de la zone OCDE, d’après l’indice de synthèse de l’innovation (ISI) du tableau de bord européen de l’innovation (TBEI). Les principaux points faibles résident dans l’intensité de recherche-développement (R-D) des entreprises, la proportion de la population diplômée de l’enseignement supérieur, et l’exploitation commerciale des nouvelles connaissances. Ce document examine les réformes mises en ?uvre actuellement dans le but de remédier à ces faiblesses, et propose des orientations en vue d’aller plus loin. Pour l’heure, la coopération entre les organismes de recherche publics et les entreprises innovantes est renforcée, le système de soutien à l’innovation est rationalisé, et des mesures sont prises pour accroître l’offre, tant actuelle que future, de scientifiques et d’ingénieurs en vue de faire des Pays-Bas un site plus attractif pour les investissements de R-D. Afin de relever le taux de diplômés de l’enseignement supérieur, les autorités envisagent de mettre en place des formations supérieures plus courtes et ont décidé, à titre expérimental, de faire davantage jouer la concurrence entre les fournisseurs de services d’enseignement supérieur pour l’attribution des fonds publics. Afin d’améliorer les résultats obtenus en matière d’exploitation commerciale des nouvelles connaissances, les pouvoirs publics s’emploient à réduire les obstacles à l’entrepreneuriat, mais il faudrait aller plus loin pour stimuler l’esprit d’entreprise. Ce document de travail complète l’Étude économique consacrée aux Pays-Bas par l’OCDE en 2005 (

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 479.

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Date of creation: 10 Feb 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:479-en
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